When the battle seems too big for me
Broken relationships. Uncertainty. Work pressure. Inadequacy. Illness. Debt. Bullying. Injustice.
It’s not a matter of comparing whose battle is more prolonged or severe, each struggle is as real and personal as someone else’s. We spend hours wracking our brains for solutions to problems at work and years working to pay off seemingly insurmountable debts. We plaster on smiles through the day, but weep through the night over a broken relationship.
With each waking day, we are wrestling to find restoration, acceptance, identity, and hope.
Sometimes the fight gets too exhausting. We feel lonely in strife and forget the meaning behind contending. We have given our best — time after time — but to what end? It feels much easier to throw in the towel or bury the burden — keeping our arms up and our heads high have become too onerous.
However, I have come to know that when I reach a stage where it is too difficult to push through the pain and fend off thoughts of inadequacy and grief, it is exactly the right time to buckle down and fight to fight on.
In 2016, I came face-to-face with a monster called Anxiety, mostly because of the pressure I was imposing on myself at work. Anxiety was my battle to fight through: one which I am still fighting today, and one that recently caused me to crumble once again.
I found an intense need to prove myself at work, to meet difficult KPIs, so that I don’t disappoint. All I really wanted was to be successful in what I do — was this so difficult? A battle against anxiety and stress always feels like a futile fight; after some time, I’d give in, cry myself to sleep, and wake up to face the same monster staring at me and whispering over and over again, “You’re a failure.”
From failing to meet sales targets, to overlooking minute details of event planning, it seemed like I didn’t have things within the grasp of my control and management. Even though I’d already given my best, it wasn’t enough, and inadequacy would accuse me within my head.
During such moments of tired desperation, thoughts of just putting my work aside and not caring about it, or quitting my job, will flood my tired mind. What will I actually lose if I’m a disappointment or failure? There have been despondent times where I had run out of capacity to always give my best. It was in those moments of complete defeat that all I could manage was a desperate plea, “Lord, help me. I don’t know what to do anymore.”
Looking back, I found a resolve to fight when I laid down my anxious thoughts, offered up prayers and petitions, and presented my requests to the Lord (Philippians 4:6). When faced with battles in this life, the key in finding the spirit to fight on was found in letting go.
In admitting that I am weak and lost, I found myself made strong in God (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). I intentionally chose to let go of every self condemnation, and found confidence to keep fighting from a position of rest and strength in His presence. I had to give up every fear and doubt, and rise up in joy and authority to speak God’s truth into my situation. Whenever the devil’s lies would lurk in my thoughts, my husband would often remind me, “Give honour to what is worthy.” It is about choosing to give thanks and praise to God (who is for me), and not to dwell on the words of the evil one.
Sometimes, when we let go of our own ambitions and hopes, we then allow ourselves to trust that the Lord’s ways are higher. I’m not here to prove my worth at work, but to simply work as unto the Lord, with excellence and in faith. It is in recognising our place in this universe, that we know that our God is sovereign over all.
Previously, I used to think of solutions and escapes all the time. Today, I have found the power of simply sitting at His feet and feeding on His word — aligning my heart to His truths. Along the way, I’ve come to realise that no matter how difficult our circumstances may be, sometimes the only way we can push through our struggles is when we find strength in the waiting. “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31).
You might have been fighting your battle for weeks, months, or even decades — maybe all you need to hear today is this: Trust and rest in the Lord. You are more than a conqueror in Christ, and He is fighting for you. Lodge yourself in the love and promises of our Father.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:26-28)